Poor old Gordon Brown. Scottish television has just shown an extract from a play by Kevin Toolis, The Confessions of Gordon Brown, that will have its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival. Its premise is that Gordon Brown was our greatest failure as Prime Minister in 200 years.
Part of the Brown legacy is that we never had a referendum on whether to join the euro. He and Tony Blair were locked in a power struggle over that issue 10 years ago this week. Blair wanted us to join; Brown wanted to keep us out. On 11 June 2003, Alastair Campbell noted in his diary: “Things haven’t worked out on the euro and TB was pretty fed up… The judgement was settling that GB basically thwarted him.”
Imagine if Blair had had his way and had persuaded the public to vote “Yes”. Sterling would be a thing of the past, and we would have had to help bailout stricken eurozone economies. Perhaps we should be more thankful for Gordon.
...and why Mongolia is thankful for Tony
Congratulations to the government of Mongolia on recovering the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The reptile turned up in the US and the Mongolians claimed it had been stolen. US authorities investigated, filed charges against the importer, seized the bones, and sent them back to Mongolia.
At the weekend, huge crowds packed the capital, Ulan Bator, for a glimpse of the monster. This success came less than two months after the Mongolians had hired a new adviser to ease their commercial relations with the outside world. That adviser? The aforementioned Tony Blair.
Sir Robert comes clean on interests
The Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee has chosen a new pro tem chairman in place of Tim Yeo. He is Sir Robert Smith, a Liberal Democrat MP and a baronet, who has declared in the register of members interests that he has shares in Rio Tinto and Shell. MPs only have to declare shareholdings worth more than £66,000. Let us hope Sir Robert’s interests do not get him into anything like the difficulties Mr Yeo is experiencing.
Thatcher funeral: there’s still time to protest
The facility on the Government’s website that enables members of the public to create e-petitions is a splendid noticeboard for people who want to make the world a better place. One woman wanted the legal age for marriage to be raised to 21, so as to lower the divorce rate. Sadly, no one signed, and if you’re thinking of appending your signature, you are too late. The deadline was today.
However, it is not too late to join the 38,346 people who have signed a petition demanding “No state funeral for Maggie Thatcher”. The closing date for that is next February.
UFO damage? Just check with Bilderberg
Today’s Sun carried a photograph of a Chinese aircraft that had just made an emergency landing with its nose caved in. “Airline officials have so far refused to say what caused the damage – but flying saucer experts say it could have been a UFO,” I read. But who are the “flying saucer experts”? The article does not say, but I bet they were at last week’s Bilderberg Conference.